NDKs lined up on Kayak Beach

Thoughts on Fitting, Demoing and Choosing a Sea Kayak

by Tom Bergh of Maine Island Kayak Co, Peaks Island, Maine

Sea kayak designs abound in our world. The following thoughts are offered to assist you in evaluating any kayak you paddle. With so many designs and models to choose from, which kayak is “the best”? It’s my hope to help you plot a positive and useful course through this exercise.

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Deception Pass

How Ocean Currents Work

(and How We Are Breaking Them)

A fun, silly and scientifically accurate 12 minute summary of how Ocean Currents work, and their effects on the North Atlantic.

Featured photo of Deception Pass, Puget Sound, WA.

Wave Forming

Isle of Man Sea Kayak Symposium

Featured photo by Adventurous Experiences.

International Training with Adventurous Experiences

September 23-25, 2011

My bet with Dale Williams, founder of Sea Kayak Georgia, on Sunday September 25th: that I can get a smile from even one of the paddlers from Finland. We are headed down toward the Isle of Calf off the south end of Isle of Man. Southerly winds blew hard last night and are expected to go to Force 6 this afternoon. Yesterday, Dale and I took our 16 students surfing in two different groups with the help of local Isle of Man guides. They’ve sure been paddling and training with Keirron and George, as their idea of beginner/novice surf instruction had us in longish swell with some seriously noisy break. Nervous students don’t learn well; as the Finns mostly paddle in the Baltic Sea with no real swell or current, Dale and I quickly paddle a retreat to a more protected smooth spilling beach break. We best remember that our local Manx guides operate on a pretty crazy standard if they think that last ledge was a proper instructional area for novice/intermediate surfing.

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Wave. Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay.

Eddie Would Go

When a surfer drops onto the face of a wave at the Eddie Aikau Big Wave Invitational, it’s a long way down. The prestigious surfing competition takes place during the most active swell season at Waimea Bay on Oahu’s North Shore, from December 1 to February 28*; it requires waves of more than 20 feet to run - and that’s Hawaiian scale. The faces of those waves measure upwards of 30 feet. The event honors legendary Hawaiian surfer Eddie Aikau. Twenty-eight surfers are voted by their peers to compete in “The Eddie”.

Eddie Aikau became the first lifeguard for the North Shore of Oahu in 1968, including the surfing mecca of Waimea Bay. In Eddie’s 10 years of service, he made over 500 rescues with only a surfboard and fins. There wasn’t a single fatality.

Waimea. Image by markof4123 from Pixabay.

Waimea. Image by markof4123 from Pixabay.

In 1978, Eddie volunteered to crew on a 30-day, 2,500-mile journey which was to follow the ancient route of the Polynesian migration between the Hawaiian and Tahitian island chains. The double-hulled voyaging canoe, Hokule’a, developed a leak in one of the hulls and capsized about twelve miles south of the island of Molokai. Aikau paddled out toward Lanai on his surfboard to get help. Although the rest of the crew was later rescued by the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Cape Corwin, Aikau was never seen again.


Most give credit to the late surfer Mark Foo for coining that famous phrase. At one Invitational, swells were enormous and the organizers were contemplating closing the competition for safety. Foo looked out at the surf and quietly, factually, stated, “Eddie would go”.

In the end, it’s not about Eddie Aikau’s final act of heroism. What endures is the legacy of Eddie's selfless giving and service to others, so that they could discover the pure joy of riding the waves.

*The 2020-2021 Eddie Aikau Big Wave Invitational has been canceled over pandemic concerns.

Featured photo: Wave. Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay.